Trainer Matt Dunn’s past association with the family of Lady Banff could be the impetus for his biggest pay day in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
Dunn is convinced Lady Banff should be unbeaten going into the $2 million 1200m-race at the Gold Coast on Saturday.
Lady Banff won her first two starts at Doomben in brilliant fashion before finishing a close second to Millions rival Gotta Kiss in a two-year-old handicap at Eagle Farm three weeks ago.
“We sat three-deep in the lead the whole way and the winner had a sweet run. You can make a case to say Lady Banff should have won but that is in the past and on to Saturday,” Dunn said.
Premier Sydney jockey James McDonald will ride Lady Banff.
Dunn and his bloodstock advisor Neil Jenkinson spend hours trawling through yearling catalogues and noticed Lady Banff in the Magic Millions March sale last year.
“I have had a bit of luck with her sire Top Echelon but I also remember training Lady Banff’s dam Alberta,” Dunn said.
“She was by Magic Albert and had a ton of potential but to put it bluntly she was a bit of a head case.
“Alberta hated getting on the float and was a mess before she got to the races.
“But I knew if Lady Banff had inherited her ability she would be more than handy.”
Dunn, who is based at Murwillumbah, coaxed a Lismore maiden win out of Alberta, her only victory from six starts.
Dunn and Jenkinson went to $40,000 to buy Alberta’s second foal, the least amount they spent on a yearling last year, and Lady Banff has won more than $190,000.
A win for Lady Banff would write another chapter in the career of her sire Top Echelon, who is closely related to former champion Gunsynd.
Top Echelon, who was Group One-placed as a two-year-old, is one of the best value stallions in Australia and stood for just $4000 when he sired Lady Banff.
From limited opportunities Top Echelon has sired Group One winner River Lad and stakes winners Lady Echelon and Our Boy Malachi.
Aim remained the TAB’s $5.50 favourite on Friday ahead of Farnan at $6 with Lady Banff a $16 chance.